tv American Politics CSPAN April 17, 2011 6:30pm-8:00pm EDT
>> it is going to be difficult to have someone with gates' influence. that is one reason the have not announced any body. who can you go into that will have that kind of sway? it will be a political position and they will be stuck with a political job. >> policy issues included women in combat, days in the military, and military readiness. are the republicans in the house likely to revisit days in the military? >> they will revisit it, but they will probably lose. they don't have the votes in the senate to get it through. they do not have override vote, either. i really do not think this will go anywhere. it is more a political think they are doing. >> you asked about a new report about women in the military. what is the trajectory for that?
>> there does seem to be some momentum building in the senate. senator levin has not yet said how he feels and what he might do. he just went through very bruising battle on the repeal of gays and the ban of gays serving in the military. that was very tough. they may not want to take on a social issue this year. you may end up seeing it. in house, can you get that through the house? i seriously doubt it. >> the chairman told a story of a funeral he went to and said women are in harm's way right now. what is the difference between where we are an officially allowing women in combat? >> they are the ones that go out and kick down doors in the middle of the fight, and they are not supposed to have women in them. in practical purposes, women are
in combat today. it does not matter whether this report is approved or not, they are there and their role is only going to expand. >> so is there a need for a policy revision? >> there are combat roles where people are required to do enormous -- carry enormous loads. now there is technology coming across to help their loads and things like that. whoever goes into these combat units would have to pass a certain type of physical and be able to do certain types of things. there were some very small guys when i went through the army who were able to do the work, and there are probably some women who can do the work, too. right now they do convoy protection, military police, and those kinds of functions, and they are in combat. they do get special pay for combat. >> that is it for our time.
>> secretary geithner wrote a letter to congress and said very clearly that if the debt ceiling is not raised, one of the things that risk is military pay, veterans benefits, and retirement pay. there is a slush fund in there and have some time. it may not be until june that they face it, but if the debt ceiling is not raise or spending is not cut, military pay will be at risk. >> remember what the deficit spending currently is. it is about $1.30 trillion. >> thank you for being with us this week. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2011] >> not available, c-span congressional director, a complete guide to the first session of the 112 congress.
inside, new and returning house and senate members with contact information, district maps and committee assignments, and information on the white house, supreme court justices, and governors. order online at c-span.org/shop. >> not a conversation with buddy roemer. he announced he has formed a presidential exploratory committee. he has been visiting early primary and caucus states. we talk with him about his life and political career, his years in the house of representatives, his single term as governor, and what he thinks will be the main issues in the 2012 elections. this is about 55 minutes. >> governor buddy roemer, of all the names mentioned as potential 2012 republican presidential candidates, yours was not on the list. until about a month ago. why?
>> i had not made up my mind to explore until about five weeks so, exactly. i have been out of politics, literally and figuratively, for the most part of 20 years. i build community banks. i have one that covers the state of louisiana. i am a businessman, not a lawyer. but trading is to build companies, to grow companies. i finally thought that maybe bascules the planning, putting budgets together, reforming the tax code, these sorts of things were exactly what this country might need, and then finally i became concerned about what i perceived to be the lack of leadership. of foreign policy that is
flatfooted, a domestic policy that is nonexistent, and the became concerned. two words got me at the end. that -- i'd deal with debt all day long -- idea was that all day long. it is dangerous. costs us jobs. particularly when you are borrowing your money from your competition. the second word that got me was indebtedness. washington d.c. is a boom town. the rest of america is hurting. why is that? it is because all the lobbyists, the special interests, the influence money comes here. it is too much, too big. it does not encourage innovation and leadership. i decided to explore the possibility of running for president on those two issues, debt and indebtedness. >> as we speak to you in the spring of 2011, the state of the
union is cross -- -- >> >> i love america. this is the place to be. our best years are ahead of us. but the state of the union is perilous. we 0 $14.70 trillion. we spent $300 billion a month, and we barrault $120 billion of that. the last 12 years, we have created a net of zero new jobs. let me say it again. in the fall of 1998, there were 131 million americans working off the farm. that is called non-farm payroll. last month that number was 131 million. we are a nation challenge globally and we seem to be unprepared. it bothers me. >> so what do you bring to this
race? you talked about your business experience. you have been in the house of representatives. he served one term as louisiana governor. you lost reelection, came back in 1995 and lost that race. what have you learned over the years? >> if you learn from your mistakes, i am probably better off than i used to be. i was a young, arrogant man. i ran for congress the first time and loss. i read again and won four successive times easily. i like running. i ran for governor, against all odds, against a guy named edwin edwards and other, better known names than me. i was the youngest, most different. i limited money in a corrupt state, which louisiana was in the 1980's. it was breathtaking, some said, and i won that race. four years later, having lowered
the highest unemployment rate in america, which was over truck%, to 6%, having balance the budget for years 0, halving clean up air and water, having started a trust fund to repay our highways, feeling pretty good about myself. i changed parties midway through my term, the only governor to do it. i changed from a conservative democrat to republican, and faced reelection against david duke and edwin edwards, one of the most infamous races in american history. that had more money than nine. they were maybe more skilled politicians -- they had more money than i. polls show that much change in parties cost me six points. i lost by less than one point in a very heartbreaking election, but i learned a lot. i learned that if i make a major move like changing parties, have that people will understand
it over time. i did it with about six or seven months to go in that campaign. that was my mistake. timing is important. but that is not why i run. i am the only guy who considers running who has been both a congressman and a governor, and i like that experience. but more important, i am one of several guys running who built his own company. -a computed -- community bank who has met a payroll, who actually figures out where the market is and how to capture it. i put all that together with the belief that we ought to limit the money that politicians accept, and i believe this is kind of campaign that america needs now. if you like the way things are, you will not be for me. but if you would like to take
another look. if you like a guy who was a conservative democrat in congress and worked with the republicans every day, that is how you put a country together. that is what we need to do now. we need a president who is more than a republican. we need a president who is an american, who would reach out to both parties and the independents and the tea party and say look, we must do this. i run for reelection after being elected, i will not do it until there are six or seven months left. our president is already running for reelection, and his term is barely half over. i have worked this out in my 67 years. i am not a baby. i am a grown man. i am old enough to know what needs to be done, and young enough to do it, and i am excited about it. >> you talked about education
reform, ending teacher tenure, and the times picayune recently wrote that that was your intention, but it did not happen under your watch. >> we started teacher testing for the first time in history. then i was defeated by edwards, and he threw it all out. he got the legislature to undo it, so they had to wait five more years after edwards to start it again. i did mine in 1988, 1989, 1990, and 1991. then edwards took over from me and undid the teacher testing, and did the three or four things we had done in education for four years, and then mike foster, another republican, took over as governor and started those programs again. >> describe your relationship with edwin edwards. >> when i first started in politics as the gunmen, i had
run for their constitutional condition to rewrite our constitution in louisiana. i was 28 or 29. i worked with edwards, who had called for that constitutional right. i was a proponent of what he was trying to do. i thought it was the right thing to do. over the years, we grew far apart. the issue was corruption. the issue was money and politics. i thought that the governor of louisiana did not need to take unlimited checks from the oil companies and from the chemical companies and the toxic waste companies, and those that abuse the air and water. edwards and i -- falling out is a polite way of saying we became political adversaries at that point. when he ran for reelection the third time, a congressman from louisiana, bob livingston,
republican congressman from louisiana, jim brown, secretary state, and i decided independently to run against him, and five of us, with a guy named speedy long, those six of us ran in that election. i was lucky enough to win. >> when he served his time in prison, did you support or try to push for him to have a pardon? >> i did not. i believe was that public corruption is the worst kind of corruption in a nation of representative democracy. edwards had never said that he made a mistake. he never admitted that. he did not show evidence of remorse. there was no medical reason to release him, i thought. my position was that he should serve his term, or confess his sense, his transgressions, and
show evidence that he had reconstructed himself. i saw no evidence of that. >> take this back to 1999. you were considering switching from republican to democrat. why the change? >> we were a one-party state. we were 96% democrat in the legislature. we were born democrats in louisiana in the 1970's and 1980's. when i became governor, i realized the weakness of that system. there was no debate. there were no second opinions. there was no constitutional conflict that could be resolved with middle ground or higher ground. i thought the only way to make it happen fairly quickly was to change parties. i obviously had a part of me that while i served in the congress, a very conservative democrat, voted with republicans.
i loved reagan, thought he was a great president. i had the same relationship with senior george bush. i liked him and respected him. i had an opportunity, i thought, to change parties, set an example, and turn that lopsided single party into a two-party system. that is where it is today. i don't take credit for it. i was a factor in it, but today the legislature is about 55-45 republican. that is why did it. i did it for the same reason -- louisiana was a lot like egypt. i remember going to egypt for the first time as a member of congress in 1981. mubarak was the president then. i met him. he was still around two months ago. louisiana was like that. it was a one-party state.
it stepped on its people. they lived on welfare. the had the highest unemployment rate in america. this was a tough state to grab and try to turn around, and at the end of three years of doing that, i thought i needed to change parties to finish the job, so i did, and i am proud of it. >> you were in congress with bullet will democrats, now called blue dogs. -- with boll weevil democrats. is there room for -- >> evidence is against the finding of variety and diversity. we tend to be a nation of headlines. are you with me or against me, they ask. that the answer you this week --
let me answer you this way. in my opinion, the nation is stronger when there is a diversity of opinion that touches each other, that overlaps. that is the way coalitions are built. every now and you will have an election were the democrats control the white house, senate, and house of representatives. it did not work very well. a few years before that, the republicans control the white house and house and the senate. it did not work very well. i would like us to be a nation where a party leads and a second party has constructive criticism, but they work together to build america. i don't know right now. that is why my issue is money. to me, the power of money, special interest money, has way too much influence in washington. i saw in "the wall street journal" recently a home price
list. it was memphis, st. louis, new york, tampa, washington d.c., atlanta, chicago. the price of homes over the last year in this country have dropped in chicago to 7.5%. in atlantic it was something like 8%. it dropped every place except one, washington d.c. it is a boomtown, steve. all the lobbyists, all the big check holders, all the special interests come here. they come here to get their way in the government, because they note that average people in america are trying to work at their jobs. they don't have time to come to washington. who is your lobbyist? i bet general electric has a team of them. last year they made $14.70 billion, and they did not pay one penny in taxes. i am not fussing at ge, but they
are an example of what is wrong with america. they wrote the tax code for them. it ought to be written for plain people. i believe tax code rate ought to be low. we should be a tax haven for the world. it will create jobs if we rewrite it and do it. that is what my plans. for companies like ge to not pay for a single breed or sober to protect their assets in the world, to not pay for one school teacher, to not pay for one fireman, to not pay for one police officer, it is not bright. the code is 5500 pages long. you cannot read it. neither can the average american, but the lobbyists and lawyers can. the only way i know how to do it is to run for president with
$100, my maximum amount. we can win with $100. it is the only way to win. let me give you a number. if i get one person out of 100 to contribute $100 to my campaign, i will have more money in the primary than john mccain and mitt romney did the last time they ran, 3.5 years ago. i will have $300 million in the primary. when you win the primary with clean money in small amounts, you turn to face a president with whom you have real differences, and you have a debate of specifics, and a classy debate, and you need to out of 100. to add a 100 will be $600 million against a president who is going to have a billion, and we can win.
>> you talk about tax code, almost $15 trillion in debt. how do you bring down the debt and raise revenues? >> with a plan. it is real simple. all my life, my training and my practice has been in business planning. i help build companies. my bank is 5 years old and $670 million. we made money throughout the recession. we did not get a penny of bailout money. i think it was called tarp. it can be done the old-fashioned way. a business plan, and then customers, one at a time. that is the way you bring our debt in control. you start with a target number of 18.5%, which is the amount of federal spending of the gross domestic product. it should be 18.5%. today is 25%.
it is too high. it is spending that is the problem, not taxes to decrease the deficit. let's work on spending. we will put everything on the table, entitlements, military, oil subsidies in louisiana, ethanol subsidies in iowa. you put it on the table and you have a five-year plan. i know the president only has four, but the office will continue. congress will continue. a five-year plan to reduce spending by 1% of gross domestic product by year for five years, and the budget will come down to 18.5%. steve, when i hear political leaders or presidents talk about spending and deficits and they don't mention a target figure, their lips are moving, they are not telling the truth. my target is 18.5%.
that will fund what america needs, keep us strong militarily, help us grow draw, make government leaner, provide for social security and medicare, with some changes in both, and we can talk about that, but the first thing you need is a plan, and the first thing you need is a budget target. 18.5%. it will take five years to do it right without hurting people, without slamming people to the ground, while protecting our economy. everything has to be on the table. you will treat some programs different from others, but it all has to be on the table. you go after waste, fraud, and abuse, that is the language i had heard for 30 years, and nobody goes after it. you will have to consolidate programs. you ask why you need an energy department. you ask why you need an
education department. they do not teach a single child. you ask why we need a commerce department. you go through that kind of reorganization and downsize, and then you ask for management and business principles to be adopted. i will give you two examples. the number of federal employees who will retire in the next seniors is 42% of our work force. if we could take half of them and not replace them when they retire with new technology, you would make government much more efficient, and you would save about $35 billion a year. that is just one example. i could give you 10 other examples. we need to eliminate all the energy subsidies and come up with an energy plan. that saves you $45 billion. housing subsidies, $42 billion. you can go right down the line.
look, when these guys say that all they can save is $38 billion out of a $3.60 trillion budget, they are wrong. that have never run a business. they have never put a business plan together. you can do it helping people. you do not have to hurt them. >> would eliminate the department of education or the energy department? what would you get rid of? >> what i am doing is taking away the bureaucratic functions. that would be a resource center, at data that we need to help our children. if i can do it with a little money running both, i would keep them. if i have to eliminate it to do what i want to do, i would eliminate them. i would consolidate certain functions into maybe a department of government which does the block grants and the
overhead things that need to be done, but we don't need a department of education or other part of energy. we don't even need a department of commerce. what we need is a leaner government that helps companies and people that need help, and stop growing of bureaucracy in washington d.c. you could save billions if you would do it. where would these functions go? education works best with choice and competition. that comes from the states. you could have congress and your budget have a certain amount of money that would flow to the states to encourage choice and competition, like charter schools. it would not need department of education to do that. you need an energy policy. my speech when i am sworn into
office as president will include the statement that we will be energy independent by the end of this decade. i remember john kennedy talking early in his term about by the end of this decade, sending a man to the moon and back again safely. i can remember how that made me feel. >> with all due respect, every president since richard nixon has been talking about being energy independent. they have all tried and failed. >> i will tell you what my plan includes. let me give you three points. it includes mexico and canada as part of domestic energy. that north american plays will be our domestic base. no. 2, we import about 15% of our oil and energy needs from
the middle east and similar nations. i would ratchet that down in using terps -- using tariffs to reduce that amount of energy domestically. it would include nuclear, under the new technology. japan was 39 years old. we have to be careful, but i see nuclear as 20% to 25%. i see it as high as 25%. i see natural gas going from 20% to about 40%. we have plenty of natural gas in this country. i see drilling for oil with the new technologies. we have had one accident in 70 years in the gulf of mexico. we have learned a lot from it. we need to let the states chime in. we need alternative energy.
the key is shutting out the foreign oil. we are addicted to middle eastern oil. it kills our foreign policy. costs us money. we send the marines on oil duty. we need an energy policy. i plan to propose an energy policy that when combined with canada and mexico would have us energy freed by the end of the decade. no democrat or republican has ever proposed that before. >> you supported reagan and bush. they placed justices on the bbeen with certain rulings. you are going to be facing a lot of competition from outside forces him may be against you.
>> it does not bother me. big money never wins. in the long run, big money never wins. the american people are not dumb. the average company or person does not have the money to match the big boys. we have to change the system. i am running against the system. long before the supreme court ruled 5-4, this place was in trouble. do you know what congress does with half of their time? they raise money. there is a fundraiser somewhere in this town today. it happens to be a monday. i can guarantee you could go to a fundraiser for wanted to. senior citizens wanting to retire for hiring out as
lobbyists. the town is bought and sold. the game is rigged. the game is fixed. president reagan proposed a research and development tax credit back in 1982. he was a great idea. -- it was a great idea. the democrats were reluctant. tip o'neill asked me how we would know it would work. we came up with a suggestion. let's try it for two or three years. if you like it and it works and makes america more competitive, we will make it permanent. the democrats let it pass. it worked. it was wonderful. it is still on the books. it was never made permanent. it is one and two years at a time. do you know why? they raise money with it. they go to corporate america and say the r&d credit is a good
idea, but we need to pass again. please give to my campaigns. they do not give $2,500. they give a heck of a lot more. they give speaker fees, they used to. large amounts of money. they give pac money where there is no limit. they give hundred thousand dollars to the party. this town is bought and sold. i am not pointing just at the republican party. i will start there. it is the democratic party. president obama ran for the presidency with a lot of people supporting him. he ran against the special interest money. he ran against john mccain, one of the finest men i have known. he impugned his integrity talking about being in washington too long and been part of the corrupt system.
guess what, president obama? you are the same way. you have taken more money as president in the history of anybody who has ever held the office. you did health care without or pharmaceuticals reform. insurance companies are not under the sherman antitrust act. they do not even have to compete. who wrote that? washington, d.c., because that is where they get their money. there's a lot right with america and i love it. but the money has it by the throat. even men who wanted change cannot do it. i figured the only shot i have is to limit it to $100 and get one out of a hundred americans to join. we can do this. we can raise $300 million of clean, small gifts and turn the
system around. i would start with the congress after i am elected. i would meet with their leaders and say that this can be done. look what i did. let's change the law. let's make a constitutionally correct. let's have some definition of how we're going to run elections and the money. our forefathers never thought it would be this way. we need to take it back again. >> every presidential candidate runs on change. let me give you an example. george bush talked about changing the tone of washington in 2000. we sat down with him before he left office and he said they failed. how do you succeed in changing the tone in washington where past presidents have admitted it did not work out for them. >> you are right. but no one has ever run on the money. since theodore roosevelt of hundred years ago asked the question of whether the republican party would be the party of plain people or
privilege in 1911, 100 years. i am running on the money. these other problems need to be addressed -- energy independence, spending that is out of control, taxes that need reform, small businesses that need to be put first on our list, global trade that is unfair and needs to be changed. i am into it. you cannot do it unless you separate yourself from the money. it makes people uncomfortable. it makes people wonder if i am serious. i am deadly serious. if you do not change the money, you will end up being like george w. bush, a good man but he did not get it done. he will end up like barack obama with pretty speeches but nothing changes. i am going to start with the one thing that will change everything, the money in politics. watch it happen. >> how did you get interested in
politics and why did you run for congress? >> i blame my father for everything. i grew up on a farm. my dad and mom are still alive. they are 88 and 89. they live in north louisiana and about 10 miles from those your city -- bossier city where i graduated from high school. there were 250 in my high school class. most of them are still my buddies today. i grew up on that cotton farm. i worked. my mother and father taught me the value of work. i have worked hard all my life. i went off to college at 16. i came back to the farm and helped to run it. i went back to college at 19 and 20. i then came back and started forming banks and other companies that i do. i got interested in politics at
an early age. my mother and father taught us that no politician have all the answers. my mother and father taught us that no politician was perfect. my mother and father taught us that the only safeguard we have in this representative democracy is to keep checking on our politicians. they urged us to get involved. i volunteered it working for the school board and other things. i did not run for office for a long time. i ran for the constitutional convention. we wrote the state constitution. a hundred and five delegates were elected. i was one of them, one of the few non-lawyers. i ran for congress in 1978. i lost. our income and congressman had retired. -- our incumbent congressman had retired. about 15 people ran. i finished third.
iran again two years later. i was lucky enough to beat the guy who had beaten me. louisiana has open laws where everybody runs together regardless of party. that is what got me interested in politics, kind of a family interest. we were conservative in our money. we were fairly liberal in our civil rights beliefs. in the deep south, we were rare like that, quite frankly. my father received some cross burnings and turmoil in his life. my family believes people should be judged by their character. i ran for office that way. iran as a conservative. i hold those views today. i was proud to change parties. i think was the only governor to change parties while in office.
it ended up in a train wreck for me, but i was glad to do it. i thought it was the right thing to do. i like politics. i do not want my absence from politics to be mistaken. it was not that i did not care. i am proud to pay my taxes every year. i have others to run for office. this time it seemed different to me. this time, and was most disappointed in president obama. this time, i felt the country had a tsunami that hit washington. 8% of the people did not have work. another 4% had quit looking. another 15% were working at half pay. there were no new jobs being created. i said it was time for a businessman. this is the time for somebody with the plan. but most importantly, i thought this was time for somebody who
either have the current -- the courage or stupidity to stand against the big money. i went to harvard undergraduate. i went to harvard business school. i know these guys. they are not evil people. they are just looking out for themselves. they control washington. they laugh about it. i am going to ask them to quit laughing. i am going to ask them to be americans and support me or somebody better. if you can find somebody who has a plan and will get these things done and treat the lowest man as a valuable resource, vote for them. if you cannot, vote for me. >> politico described your candidacy as huey long meets jerry brown. >> i do not know what they mean. they are rough.
i know jerry brown. i did not know if you long. -- i did not know if you long -- i did not know huey long. an american. i believe in america. i have gotten to be this way in my fear of and disdain for the system. the system takes good women and men and it does not let them do their job. they have to be raising money. it takes good men and women and it will not let them lead. they get knocked down. i have been whipped a few times myself a special interest money. i have seen it. there was a guy in my state who
spent a couple of million of his money because i had shot his business down fair and square because it was polluting the air and water big time. he has made it his life's mission to beat me any time i tried to do something. that happened. i want my politicians to be unafraid of that. it is time to rebuild the nation. that is why of the age of 67, retired from politics, if successful in business, alive and well, i have decided to try to make this a race not for the presidency but for rebuilding america, of changing the corrupt part of our system. i have been careful not to use the word "corrupt" much. people think i am talking about
one person. i am not. there are a few corrupt people. i am talking about a system where we do not have the lowest tax rates on earth. it is a system where people with fabulous wealth do not have to pay their part. it is a system where the middle class ends up paying much larger taxes if we keep on with what we're doing now. they will have all of their spirit killed. this country used to reduce 4 million jobs a year -- produce 4 million jobs a year. in the last few years, it has produced zero. it is the system that does it. it is the system that makes things too complicated and the real goings on in washington something that c-span cannot cover. you are never invited in to the caucus, not one time. you are never invited in.
i am the only man running for president who has been a congressman for eight years and a governor full-time quite mitt romney. i built my own company. i know this game. it is not worth playing. we need to change it. >> are you religious? >> i am a religious guy, more than i used to be. as you get older, you begin to settle down. i got married at 19 and divorced 10 years later. i got married a couple of years after that and divorced 16 years later. i have had my ups and downs. my parents were always people of faith, methodists. over the last 10 or 15 years, i have become a regular churchgoer with my face and the lord -- with my face in the lord.
i am still fiercely independent and a center i am sure, but i have a deep religious belief. the divorces were painful. it probably takes two to have a divorce, but i hold myself response will. -- i hold myself responsible. i lost my focus. there was in the scandal involved. but i was involved. i have been lucky with my three children, two, first marriage and one from a second. we're very close. i helped raise them and their mothers did. we made that an agreement in our divorce. mike two former wives are wonderful people. i got remarried about 10 years ago. i never thought i would. it crushed me. my second divorce particularly.
a first divorce is bad enough, but a second one? i was governor when it happened. i cried like a baby. i looked like the speaker of the house. i say that with a smile, but the crush me. i had to rebuild my life. it took me almost a dozen years before i met the piano player in my church. scarlett is turning. she has two degrees in piano performance. she is also a registered nurse. she makes a living for the family what i am not running for president. -- while i am out running for president. we have no children. we have a couple of dogs and parakeets. the goldfish died in december. that is the only bad news in my family. two of my children live in baton rouge. one of them works for me in the bank. his name is dakota.
my oldest son is chad. he is elected to the state board of education. he has done a great job. my daughter i am most proud of. her name is caroline. she is in her mid-40s. she will hate me for saying that. she just had a son two years ago, 01, my third grandchild. she lives in new orleans. she runs a private organization and executive committee for a public charter schools in louisiana. they have about 100 charter schools. it is one of the biggest in the country. my daughter runs that. given all of my train wrecks of , i learned. i am trying again. it has been 10 years. i love my wife. she is so generous with me. she lets me be buddy but expects
me to be there when it is important. we have worked about out. >> how did you get "buddy"? >> anybody named charles nelson roemer iii riding the schoolbus better have a different name. i was skinny, 80 pounds as a junior in high school named "butch." some girls thought that was not a dignified name for me and i should have a more dignified name. they said "buddy." i became "buddy roemer" in high school. >> what about your wife? >> scarlett is afraid. she is honest in her fear, but she thinks american needs a dose of me.
we need to deal with our subject matter honestly and openly. we need to give people the impression they will not be left behind. i went to eye with with the other candidates. i think that c-span covered part of it. -- i went to iowa with the other candidates. i was the only one that said that will subsidies needed to be removed. scarlett likes the about me. she has trepidation. she has never run for office. you have never entered through -- interviewed her yet. she is scared of that. get behind a piano, you will love it. that is all she wants to say. she has encouraged me to take a look. my kids have been through politics before. they lived with me when i was governor after my divorces and
afterwards even. they have seen me in politics. their fear is that i will not relax and have fun. they do not want to lose their daddy. that is their fear if i can say it that way. they say they would be proud to have me as president and would testify on my behalf it came to that. >> let's take the money aside. you have talked about this. how you win this? what is your strategy? >> i am going to concentrate on the iowa, new hampshire, south carolina trio in some form. i will leave this interview and go to new hampshire for a week on the ground. i just finished a week in south carolina. i will run like i am running for governor of new hampshire. i am not running for governor,
but small cities, civic clubs, personal friends, and dry as i went to college with, community bankers, republicans who share my views, it tea party years -- tea partiers who like to take in the next step. i will do that in new hampshire, south carolina, and iowa. my exploration is whether i can learn to read a bicycle again. it has been 20 years. hpolitics is much faster. the speed of politics is what enables me to think about this. the internet is my friend. we bank there. we have grown my bank there. we have used the internet. i am doing the same thing in my
campaign. i have contributions from 37 different states after a few weeks. i have only been 23. three.ve only been towe my words go further than they used to. i want to emphasize the money with the phrase "to read a rising nation." use the internet, associates, those who believe as i do and come together with the critical mass. it will take a while. the first pole i show up on will be victory. that is the way i ran for governor. i was in sixth place for one year. i went from 1% to 6%. i knew i was going to win at 6%. i have to reach a critical mass. do not judge roemer by the
others standards. they all have pacs, staff, and big payrolls. no, that is what is wrong with the government. i do not think you can be a president running one way and then serving another. >> but you need a staff to run a campaign. >> you do. right now i have two barely paid staffers and about six volunteer staff members helping me organize. i have some good minds. i am not ready to give you my laundry list, but it is good. i go to college campuses and recruit young people. i go to business communities and recruit executives who are non- wall street to know how to grow jobs. i go to small businesses.
i am a small business guy. two out of every three new jobs created in america and the last 35 years were from small businesses. the white house had a big economic summit two months ago. there was not a small businessmen invited. the wall street journal have 100 ceo's at their annual event. there was not a small businessman there. no wonder they do not know what is going on in the world. i am getting small business people involved in my campaign that is the way i am going to build it. >> you talk about the pace of the campaign. how is your health? you have some issues, including heart surgery. >> i am 67. highway 151 pounds. i am in good shape. -- i weigh 151 pounds. i am in good shape. i do pushups. somebody in new hampshire is going to ask me to do it. i had open heart surgery five and half years ago.
i do not remember the date, june 21, 2005, right before katrina. i am a diabetic. open-heart surgery is often required. i have five valve replacements, are greet replacements. before i announced my exploratory committee, for the first time i went for a full battery of tests with my doctor. we did a nuclear stress test. i had never had that done before. he said it was perfect. he said it was in perfect running order. he said i did not know about my mind but my body was in good shape. that is what i wanted my doctor to tell me. i was not a teenager when i became a diabetic. i was in my 20s. it was then called juvenile diabetes, anything before 30. they have changed some of the language now. i am an insulin dependent diabetic.
i am wearing an insulin pump. it allows me to run for president. i have thought about this for 20 years. i could not run before because i did not have a diabetic pump. governor was ok although i have moments of high and low blood sugar. i am here to tell every diabetic that you are looking at me. i am doing this thing. the pulp, the new technology is making it possible. >> as you size up the republican field, you have mentioned some names with mitt romney and newt gingrich. how do you size of your potential competitors? >> they're good people. i like them. and nobody's taking on the real issue. the president cannot balance the budget. he can lead. he cannot rewrite the tax code but he can lead.
you need a president free to do those things. the issue is the money. we have taken the greatest nation on earth, a -- isentative democracy have a question for you. who are they representing? the tax code is burdened with special gifts. we're going to take our country back. that means from a corrupt political system. when we do, i make a prediction. i will not get my way on everything as our leader for four years, but we will change so many things that you have an interview with me in about two years and say, "wow, it is possible." you cannot change it the old way. we would have to match them
dollar for dollar. that is a bad idea for bad idea. but the new way, plain people with a number of small, clean contributions -- america's best days are coming. >> governor buddy roemer, thank you for your time. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2011] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] >> president obama was in chicago raising money for his 2012 campaign. he delivered a speech at the navy pier. this is about 30 minutes.
young for taking a great city and turning it into a better city. we're grateful to richard daley. give it up for richard daley. [applause] i can tell you. i like to tease him. this is a guy that stepped in to one of the toughest jobs in washington. he stood by my side every step of the way. i have seen how he performs under pressure. i have seen the kind of commitment he has to the american people. you made a good choice. he is going to be a great mayor. i am proud to call rahm emanuel my friend. i look around the room.
as crowded as it is, i see friends everywhere. people out there have known him for a long time -- i have known for a long time. it is good to be home. [applause] this is the city where i fell in love. [applause] this is the city where i got my start in politics 25 years ago working with churches on the south side to bring jobs to the jobless and hope to the hopeless. it is where i stood with so many of you in grant park two years ago when we show the world that all things are possible in the united states of america. [applause] some of the may have heard that this is where we will be basing our headquarters for the 2012
campaign, right back home in chicago. this is the first time in modern history that a sitting president has faced a reelection campaign outside -- based on re-election campaign outside of washington. i decided i do not want our campaign to be just about pundits and power brokers. i want our campaign to be here because you guys are the ones that got me started. [applause] i see people in this audience that supported me when nobody could pronounced my name. [laughter] [applause] i see folks who supported me when i ran for congress and got the beat down.
they helped to nurse me back to health. one of the things i have seen again and again over the last couple of years is that the conversation in washington is very different from the conversation around kitchen tables and office coolers. i want to make sure that our campaign is rooted in your hopes and dreams. i want to make sure we're putting the campaign in your hands, in the same hands of the same organizers and volunteers who proved the last time that together ordinary folks can do extraordinary things. that is what the campaign is about. [cheers and applause] we are all a bit older. some of us are a little bit
grayer. [laughter] i will let michelle know you said that. [laughter] but all of us can remember that night in grant park, the excitement in the streets, the sense of hope and possibility. even as we celebrate, do you remember what i said back then? our work was not ending. our work was just beginning. while it was clear i would have a full plate going into election day, i would be lying if i said that i knew how full the plate would be. [laughter] it has been a little fuller than we imagined. we took office in the middle of
the worst recession in our lifetimes. it left millions of americans without jobs. we had coaxed losing their homes. the recession was so bad that many families are still grappling with the aftershocks even though the economy is going began. but the economy is growing again. we are creating jobs again. [applause] over the last quarter months, we've seen the largest drop in unemployment since 1984. -- in the last four months, we have seen the largest drop in unemployment since 1984. we've added nearly 2 million private sector jobs. that did not happen by accident. it happened because we made it tough choices like saving the auto industry. some said it could not be done. they were going to write it off. it was the right thing to do. gm is hiring back every single
worker they laid off. every one of the big three auto makers are making a profit again. that is because of the tough choices we made because of the work you did getting me into office. [applause] make no mistake. you, we have been able to make real progress. we were able to prevent a real depression. because of view, we're making the most meaningful education reforms in a generation. it is through a competition called the race to the top. it is raising teachers' up and raising learning standards across america. because of you, we overcame the status quo and reform wall street. we made sure we have some of the toughest consumer protections so you will not give cheated when you apply for a mortgage or take out a credit card. [applause]
because of you, we did what we have been trying to do for almost a century. we've made sure that everybody in this society -- if you get sick, you do not have to go bankrupt. [applause] if you get sick, you do not have to mortgage your house. if your job as a pre-existing condition, they will be cared for because we -- if your child has a pre-existing condition, they will be cared for because we passed health care reform for 30 million americans. applause]nd an you, we will not have people on the streets because they get sick. along the way, we did a few other things. we signed into law a ledbetter
bill. it was a simple idea that women need to get paid the same for men for the same kind of work. [cheers and applause] we finally overturned the injustice of don't ask, don't tell so that everybody can serve their country. they do not have to like to serve the country they love. -- they do not have to lie to serve the country they love. we put the first woman on the supreme court, including the first latino justice. [cheers and applause] we brought back 100,000 troops from iraq and in the of our combat mission there. -- and ended our combat mission
there. we knew it was time. along the way, we had to deal with pirates. [laughter] who thought we would have to deal with pirates? [laughter] that was not in my campaign platform. [laughter] pandemic, earthquakes, oil spill. do not forgive the oil spill. -- do not forget the oil spill. part of the hopefulness and anticipation we felt that night in grant park was also about what we could do to restore america's standing in the world. that is why we strengthen our alliances. we secured a list nuclear materials.
that is why i am on the right side of history now because we believe in preventing innocence from getting slaughtered. we believe in human rights for all people. [cheers and applause] that is why we have taken the fight to al qaeda. that is why we're still working in iraq to make sure the transition is for a peaceful democracy. that is why we're taking care of the veterans who came home. that is a sacred obligation we have. [applause] here is the point. we have faced an extraordinary array of challenges at home and around the world. but we would not have made any of this progress if not for you. i was talking to a group earlier.
i told them i grew up in chicago. i was not born here. [laughter] i just want to be clear. i was born in hawaii. [cheers and applause] but i became a man here in chicago. a lot of the people here today, the values, the ideals, my convictions about what makes america great were forged here. it is here in this incredibly diverse city that people from every background, creed, color
from farm towns and inner-city neighborhoods, immigrants from all around the world -- it is here that i was reminded about why america is so great. it is not the size of our skyscrapers. it is not the size of our gdp. it is the fact that we're able to keep two ideas together a the same time. one is that we are all individuals in down with inalienable rights and liberties. we are self-reliant. we are entrepreneurs. we do not want folks telling us what to do. that is part of being an individual. it is so important to us. we also have this idea that we are all in this together, that
we look out for one another. that i and my brother and sister's keeper. [applause] i want to make sure the child on the south side, the west side has the same opportunity that i have had. i am looking after them not out of charity, but because my life is better when the people around me are happy and have a shot at the american dream. those values that you helped to form in me, i carried those with me to the white house. i wake up every day with them and go to bed every night with them. i think about you. when i read the letters every night from constituents across the country talking about what
it is like to send out 16 resumes and not get an answer back, the desperation. peel's thinking they might not be able to take care of their kids, a child writing a letter saying they're losing their home and will have to move and asking if there's something i can do. when i am thinking about those things, i am also thinking back here about what you have taught me. the campaign in 2008, it was not my campaign. it was your campaign. it was about your best impulses and vision for an america that is more fair, just, and equal and has opportunity for everybody. regardless of color, race, creed, religion, sexual orientation.
[cheers and applause] if you had not knocked on all of those stores and called all of your friends in 2008, i would not be here. he did not come here tonight just to go down memory lane. we did not come here just to pop's ourselves on the back. we came here because we know for all the progress we have made, we still have business to do. we are not finished. the only way we will finish is the same way we began the journey and that is together. we're going to have to keep on working. together, we've got to make sure that any american looking for work can find a job that pays the bills. we have to make sure that hard- working families doing everything right are not falling behind getting ahead. we have to reclaim the american dream for all americans.
that is a change we still believe in. that is what i think about every single day. that is our no. star. that is our destination. we are not there yet. with your help, we can keep america on track. with your help, we will attract new jobs and businesses to our shores. we will make sure america is not just competing but we're competing to win in this economy. we will make sure that all our kids are ready for college and careers because a world-class education is the single most important factor in whether america secedes in the 21st century. -- succeeds in the 21st century. with your help, we can rebuild our crumbling infrastructure. with your help, we can continue to invest in cutting edge medical research, breakthrough
technologies, and finally have an energy policy to make sure that our economy is not subject to $5 a gallon gas. we can reduce our dependence on foreign oil and clean up the planet in the process so that we can bequeath to our children and grandchildren the kind of planet that we inherited. [cheers and applause] with your help, we can out compete the rest of the world. we can only do all of this if we get our fiscal issues under control. i gave a speech about this yesterday. [cheers and applause] when i was running for president, i talked about a new era of responsibility in this country. part of that means restoring
common sense about our federal finances. we need to restore fiscal discipline in washington, living within our means. last week, we were able to prevent a government shutdown. the reason we were able to do it is because we agreed to spending cuts, but we insisted on protecting investments in things like education and medical research. [applause] now we have to rein in the long term deficit and deal with the long-term debt because it threatens our financial stability. we will not be able to do all those good things if we do not get our fiscal house in order. but if we do not deal with these issues, all the issues we care about, we will not be able to solve. educating our kids, caring for our sick, looking after our seniors and pour -- all that will be threatened. yesterday, i tried to lay out a vision for how we tackle the
problem. we need to build on the compromises we made last week. we cannot compromise on our investments we need to create jobs and growth. we have to reform defense spending. we've got to reform health care spending. but we're not going to sacrifice our fundamental commitment that we made to one another through medicare, medicaid, and social security, the safety net for our people. [cheers and applause] we need to bring balance to our tax code. in december, i agreed to extend the tax cuts for the wealthiest americans as much as i dislike it because it was the only way to prevent a tax hike on the middle-class. we cannot afford $1 trillion in tax cuts for folks like me. not now. not wind so many other americans
are struggling -- not on so many other americans are struggling and our deficits are so high. americans like michelle and me have been blessed. this country has given so much to us. we can afford to do a little bit more to make sure that every child in this country has opportunities and every senior is looked after. i think that is something we can do. that is our vision for america. we have a big vision for america of a compassionate america, a caring america, and an ambitious american. not a small america. [cheers and applause] it is a vision where we are living within our means but still investing in our future, where everyone makes sacrifices. no one bears all the burden. we live up to the idea that no matter who we are or what we look like, no matter whewhether our ancestors came here on slave
ships or across the rio grande, that we are our brother and and sisters' keepers. we rise and fall together. that is the idea at the heart of america. that is why we will keep on fighting for immigration reform. we cannot have a nation that forgets its immigrant roots. we can have a nation of laws and immigrants. this idea of bringing everyone together and making sure that everybody is contributing and responsible, but everybody also looks out for one another, that is the idea at the heart of our last campaign. that is the idea at the heart of this campaign. that is the idea at the heart of america. this is not my campaign. this is your campaign.
[cheers and applause] i have got to tell you, there is going to come a time when i will fully engaged in this race. when the time comes, i will be campaigning. [laughter] i will be ready to go. i have got to tell you that i still have this day job. [applause] that is why i am going to need your help now more than ever. this campaign is still in its early stages. anw is the time when you com help to shape it to make sure it's out of the gates strong.
i am little dinged up. i know there are times when some of you have felt frustrated because we have had to compromise with republicans on issues. there have been times when people are frustrated because we did not get everything done in the first two years. there have been times when i have felt the same way you do. you know what? we knew this would nandi's the -- we knew this would not be easy. we knew on a journey like this that there would be setbacks and detours and times when you stumble. we also knew something else. we knew that at each and every juncture in our history when our future was on the line, when we were at a crossroads where we are now, the country came together. we were able to make the changes
we needed. that is what earlier generations did in lexington, concord, selma, and stonewall. that is what so many of you did in the cornfields of iowa, the polling places. that is what i need each and everyone of you to remember and do one more time -- not for me, but for us, for the future will hold in common, for the better days that lie ahead. whenever you hear people say our problems are too big to solve or we cannot bring about the changes we seek, i want you to think about the progress we have already made. i want you to think about all the unfinished business that lies ahead. i want you to be excited about the future that lies before us. i want to remind you and i want you to remind everybody else of those simple words that some of what we believe as a people.
a welder's son and a banker's daughter all they want is everything she came out here to be an actress he was a singer and a band they just might go back to oklahoma and talk about the star's they could have been only in america dreaming in red, white, and blue only in america we dream as big as we want to
we dream in red, white, and blue we dream of dreams we want to ♪ >> tomorrow, the former congressional budget office director examines president obama and the house republican budget proposals and the economic realities in the debate over spending production. the president of the natural resources defense council discusses the impact of the 2011 budget cuts on the epa. a member of the commission on fiscal responsibility talks about the commission's proposals for capping discretionary spending for 2020 and cutting security and non- security spending equally. "washington journal" is live